Category Archives: Art

Bunches of Bulletin Boards

We are always looking for fun, new bulletin board ideas.  I thought I would share some of the bulletin boards we have had here at preschool over the years, in case you are looking for some new ideas, too!

Birthday Boards

These next two were made by a very talented co-worker of mine who actually quilted these bulletin boards!  So cool!

Welcome to School Boards

This one was our seasons tree. We left it up all school year but changed the decorations with children’s artwork to go with the seasons. I’m missing a picture of the spring one. It had flowers on it.

Fall and Thanksgiving

This picture was taken before I put the title on the board. It read “OWL Always Be Thankful.”

This one was an interactive board. Each of the turkey’s feathers were made out of a different material for the children to touch and explore.

Winter

Snow globe- “There’s SNOW Place Like Preschool”

Having a Blast with Birthdays

Literacy

One of our favorite things to do when the kids are learning about the letter B is talk about birthdays!  One story we really like is “The Secret Birthday Message” by Eric Carle.  In the story, the little boy has to follow the secret birthday message on a kind of scavenger hunt to find his birthday surprise!  As some added fun, we print copies of the message and hide pictures of the book around the room.  The children then get to follow the clues to find the surprise, just like the boy in the story!

Dramatic Play

In our dramatic play area, we set up a birthday party with pretend birthday cakes, party hats, paper party plates and cups, and balloons.  The kids love taking turn pretending it is their birthday and having a party!

Art

This year, I wanted to try something different at the art table for birthdays.  What I came up with were these fun three-dimensional birthday cakes.

They are made from upside down paper bowls.  To make the frosting, I mixed one part glue with one part shaving cream and then added a few drops of liquid watercolor.  This concoction dries thick and foamy, and really looks a lot like real frosting!  After spreading on the “frosting,” the kids decorated the cakes with foam shapes, candy sprinkles, and cut-up pieces of straws as candles.  Of course, you could use any collage materials you have on hand to decorate the cakes.  The kids really got into making these.  I almost felt like I was watching Cake Boss there for a while!

Plastic Bracelets and Other Creations

I got the idea to make melted plastic art forms from the blog ARTASTIC! . They melted sheets of plastic like Shrinky Dinks as well as plastic cups for really neat results.  I changed it up a bit and tried it with melting plasticware.  My niece and I did this activity together. It was super easy and so much fun for both of us. We made really cool plastic bracelets and other modern-art-like plastic forms.

 

Here’s what you’ll need to try the project yourself:
* Clear plastic cutlery (#6 Polystyrene Plastic)
* Colored Sharpie Markers
* Toaster oven (or regular oven)
* Cooking tray or cookie sheet
* Aluminum foil
* Metal tongs

The process is fairly simple. You will first want to pre-heat your oven. We heated it up to 350. Then, cover the tray or cookie sheet with tin foil to protect the tray.
To make plastic forms, simply chose a plastic fork, spoon, or knife. Then color designs on it with the Sharpie markers. When you are satisfied with your design, set the plasticware on the foil lined tray and put it in the oven (this is obviously an adult duty). Now, watch the magic happen! These work a lot like Shrinky Dinks, they will shrink and curl up as they heat up. Keep an eye on it; it’s neat to watch and it happens quickly. When they are the size and shape you like, an adult can take them out of the oven using oven mitts. Do not touch until they have cooled and hardened. If you’d like to adjust the shape of them a little, an adult can use the metal tongs to shape it a bit immediately after it comes out of the oven and is still hot and moldable.


To make the bracelets, we used the plastic knifes. If you’d like, you can sand down the serrated edge before you start.  Just like with the plastic forms, color the knives however you’d like using the Sharpie markers.  When finished, put the knives on the foil lined sheet colored side down.  Putting the colored side down ensures that  the colored side will be on the outside of the bracelet and the colors won’t rub off on your skin.  An adult can put  the cookie sheet in the preheated oven and watch carefully.  The knives will shrink and the sides will probably start to curl up into a bracelet shape on their own (if they don’t, don’t worry, you can shape them in the next step).  When the bracelets look to be about the right size for the person who will be wearing them, the grown-up should take them out of the oven quickly using oven mitts.  Then, while they are still hot, the adult can shape the bracelets using the metal tongs.  The bracelets will probably be about the right shape already, but you will want to make sure the opening is big enough to slip a wrist through.  Also, if the edges did not curl in the oven, now is the time to curl them using the tongs.

Once they have cooled and hardened, the bracelets will be ready to wear.  Since the colored side is on the outside of the bracelet, the color should not rub off much.  However, if you’d like a little more protection to help your bracelet last longer, I suggest painting it with a layer Mod Podge and letting it dry.

  

** Some people are concerned about the safety of eating out of #6 plastic containers.  If you have a concern, please use discretion.  Personally, seeing as it is the same kind of plastic as Shrinky Dinks (see here), I found this project safe enough.**

Tie Dye Ice Sculptures

This is something we do every year in January.  The ice sculptures always turn out so cool!

To do this activity, we ask each child to bring in a uniquely shaped piece of ice.  We get all kinds of fun ice from creative families.  For example, we get ice frozen in balloons, rubber gloves, Tupperware, jello molds, bowls, and cups among other things.

They bring their ice into school and put it in the water table.  At play time, we give the children kosher salt to sprinkle on the ice and watch the effects, making little craters in the ice.  Then, after the ice has melted a bit, they can use the salt and press two pieces of ice to gether, fusing them together. Their coldness re-freezes the parts that have melted and makes the pieces of ice stick together.

After the children have had some time to create their sculptures, we give them  eye droppers (great for fine motor)and liquid watercolor paint to color their creations.  The results are beautiful!

Good, Clean, Fun with Ivory Soap Clouds

Today was another one of those “I-saw-it-on-Pinterest-and-had-to-try-it-myself” kind of days for me at preschool.  I’ve had this idea pinned for a while now, and since today was White Day, I thought making Ivory soap clouds would be the perfect science experiment.

I brought a microwave down from the kitchen and put it on the counter next to our circle time area.  I started circle time by doing a flannel board for the book “It Looked Like Spilt Milk,”  which talks about all the different shapes clouds make and all the different things they can look like.  Then, I took out the bar of soap (we had to talk a little bit about what a bar of soap is; most of the children were only familiar with liquid soap).  I told them that this kind of soap has little pockets of air inside of it.  We also talked about how when air gets hot, the molecules move away from each other and expand.  I had the children make predictions as to what would happen if I heated the soap up in the microwave.  They had some really great guesses.  Some thought we would see the air bubbles come out of the soap, some thought it would melt, some thought it would expand in the microwave but then get smaller when we took it out.

Then I cut just a small piece of the soap off, put it on the plate, and put it in the microwave.  I set it for 2 minutes, but the reaction was over in about 1 minute.  The air bubbles expand and cause the softened soap to enlarge in puffy mounds.  It ends up looking like a big fluffy white cloud. Once it stops growing, it doesn’t do much else, so it doesn’t hurt to leave it in the microwave longer, but there’s not much point in it, either.

During play time, the children had a chance to come over and I helped them make their own soap cloud.  This was nice because they got a chance to see the process up close better than they could at circle time.  I reminded them to be careful and not touch the cloud until it has cooled a bit because it is a little hot when  you take it out of the microwave.  To go with the story, I had them tell me what they thought it looked like once it came out of the microwave and I wrote that on the paper plate.  That way they got to take home their soap clouds and I told them they could use in their bath tonight.

Crafty Crayon-Melting Creativity

This whole melting-crayons thing is all over the internet right now.  On Facebook, on Pinterest, I have seen it just about everywhere.  I have also seen all different variations on this project:  adults melting crayons on huge canvases as art to schools in Phoenix leaving the crayon projects outside in the hot sun to melt.

At any rate, it just seemed to cool not to try.  I, of course, took my own variation on it.  First of all, I wanted to be sure each child had the opportunity to experience this science-art hands-on.  Which meant they would not just watch the crayons melt, but they would make it happen.  Second, I wanted the children to choose their crayons to put more free-choice into the project.  Third, while I wanted each child to be able to make their own creation and be able to take it home, it was not exactly in my budget to run out and buy each child their own brand-new box of Crayola crayons and a canvas (Between two classes, that would be about 30 students and since I like to make art myself at home, I know canvases can get expensive).  However, we did have a large bag of used crayons on hand at the preschool, and there is always plenty of construction paper.

This activity worked really well for the week the children were learning about the letter C.  We talked a lot about crayons and colors.  Also, since we are a Catholic Christian School, we did a lesson that day about something else that is made of wax and begins with C – candles.  They learned about and saw first hand what candles are used for in church.  But I digress.  Back to the crayons.

We’ve been talking a lot about liquids and solids with the children, and we’ve been exploring these properties in different ways.  This time, I pulled out a crayon and we talked about it.  Is it a liquid or a solid?  What is the crayon made out of?  What happens to wax when it gets hot?  After discussing, I pulled out a hair dryer and we tested the kid’s theory of what would happen when I heated up the crayon. Sure enough, the wax started to drip.

We told the children we would be doing art and science at the same time.  I absolutely love when art and science meet.  Those are my favorite kind of activities (and often the children’s favorite, too).  At free play time, we set up two hair dryers, one for each side of our easel (we discovered very quickly that we needed to plug them into different outlets if we wanted the both to be running at the same time!).  That way two children could work at once.  We let the kids choose about four or five crayons and tape them to the top of the paper.  We did not mess around with hot glue or anything like that.  As long as the crayons still had paper on them, the tape worked just fine.  We put the crayons at the top to get the full effect of the dripping.  Next time, though,  I think I might let the children tape the crayons any way they want to and explore what happens!

It took a good bit a patience for the children to wait for the crayons to get hot enough to melt, but once they did, the kids got so excited!  “Wow, look, there goes red crayon!”  “Now blue is dripping!”  And because anything of this nature becomes a race to children:  “I think green is going to win”

The students were really good scientists for this project, making all kinds of observations about what was happening with the crayons.  They noticed one hairdryer made the crayon wax drip down the paper, while the other splattered the wax more (it had a stronger blower).  Some used both thick and thin crayons and noticed they melted at different speeds.  They noticed different colors melted faster than others.  They even noticed certain crayons (the cheap ones) although colored, melted clear.

I found it to be a very fun, educational and successful project.  To go along with this project, in addition to the candles in church lesson, we read “The Crayon Box That Talked” by Shane Derolf and talked friendship and teamwork.  The children also had a lot of fun color mixing with paint at the art table.

Have any of you tried this crayon project with your children?  How did it work out in your classroom (or home)?  Post your comments and let me know your tips and suggestions!